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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Aftermath of Baghdad Bombing Hits a Nerve

August 17, 2004

Re "How a Bomb Shattered a Reporter's Detachment," Aug. 14: Journalists are not the only ones who cultivate detachment from the everyday onslaught of the horrific; their readers often do too. But two-thirds of the way through Tracy Wilkinson's article, I was crying at my kitchen table. I was crying for the parents and unborn children of the couples who were killed. I was crying because my tax dollars were used to pay for the war that led to the bombing she describes. I was crying because, well over a year after that war supposedly ended, the body count grows almost daily. I was crying because I know that if Iraq becomes a failed state, that body count will only get worse. Most of all, I was crying because we have made similar mistakes before and failed to learn from them. I only hope that the families of the couples who were killed can forgive us for being bad students of our own history -- and for not giving our leaders a failing grade.

Erika Nanes

Echo Park

*

It was profoundly touching to read about the families of the victims, and their willingness to speak to an American reporter, despite being obviously steeped in grief. And grieving families can blame anyone they want to for the loss of their loved ones. But Wilkinson must understand that "the Americans" didn't cause that bombing. The terrorists who built the explosive, placed it in the car and put one of their own behind the wheel were the only ones responsible for it, and they will continue to be responsible for the bloodshed of their neighbors and countrymen as long as they continue to blow themselves and others up to make a statement.

Those terrorist bombers didn't care whom they killed. This fact may not help the grieving families deal with their loss any better, and I am truly sorry for their loss. But blaming "the Americans" for terrorist bombings is patently wrong.

Penelope Douglas

Moloney

Boca Raton, Fla.

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